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25 years Of Living & Learning In Los Angeles

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June marks 25 years living in California.

 

Here are 25 things I have learned about living in Los Angeles after  25 years of living here:

 

1)  I really don’t have to fit in with the crowd here–NOR do I want to!

 

2)  In time, everyone talks like a “Californian.”  We say things like, “yeah, traffic was so great today–I took the 405 to the 101 then down Kanan to PCH into Malibu, then back up Malibu Canyon to the 101 to the 405 and home–I flew the whole time!”

 

 

3)  There  are so many natural places to play, it’s not just a cement jungle!  There are the San Gabriel’s, the Santa Susana’s and my stomping grounds, the Santa Monica mountains.  Play, play, play! EagleRock

 

 

4)  When I go to Beverly Hills, I feel like a fish out of water!  There are oversized lips and boobs and the gaudiest cars and stores and everyone WANTS you to see them.  It just feels odd.

 

 

5)  My environment caters to my healthy lifestyle–everywhere I go! Health food stores, restaurants, markets, healthy pharmacies, juice bars, and yoga studios abound!malibugymsteamroom

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6)  Meetup.com inspires me in more ways than just meeting people.  Meeting people is easy because there are a lot of people and there are a lot of people wanting to meet people! MeetupPhotomy meetup hike

 

7)  Riding my bike along the 22 mile ocean bike path from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes has been a dream of mine since I was 10- pure joy and exhilarating beauty!IMG_0268

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8)  Yes, you CAN find lots of places to ride horses and yes your childhood dreams can come true and yes you could live on a private horse ranch and learn more than you could ever imagine about horses–I did!

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9)  Yes, you can go to the beach in the morning and be on the ski slopes by afternoon!  Road trips up North are my favorite–the whole of this state thrills me!  The hike/climb up to Half Dome in Yosemite is a major highlight!purple passion point dume

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10)  Rainy days are embraced and cherished, they provide a much-needed break from all the sunshine!

 

 

11)  Malibu really does feel like a small town.  It is as beautiful as you might imagine.  Malibu is where my soul resides, it is my Shangri-La! onewiththetrailtara

 

12)  I love the endless choice of yoga studios in Santa Monica–The Mecca of Yoga.  I’ve learned from many teachers and they’ve all been in Santa Monica.  I know how fortunate I am to live HERE.   I can’t imagine my life without my yoga practice!taratreeinyosemite

 

13)  People who live in affluence are not as you imagine–most I have met, anyway, are the real deal– lovely and generous and some of the nicest people in my sphere.  To judge anyone for any reason is the most limiting activity there is!

Classy Cat!

Classy Cat!

14)  Even though this is a big city with lots of people, sometimes a person can feel very alone.  Other times, it is so small and I run into people I know all over the place!Papparazz

 

15)  Driving in traffic can be beautiful, honestly!  I see massive amounts of beauty from high atop the freeway overpasses.  And no, traffic doesn’t only happen in Los Angeles, traffic happens in every city!  I love my electric car,  it actually gains miles on the battery while in traffic instead of sucking up gas!

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17)  Not driving my car and riding my bike to work is freedom!

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18)  Yes, you can enjoy going to museums–my favorite is  just across the canyon–The J. Paul Getty museum off the busiest freeway–the 405!  I have a confession to make though, once I took a friend there and we didn’t even go inside and look at the art.  We stayed outside looking at the gardens and the views of the city!  The art IS amazing though, so hard to comprehend the precision and talent that exists in all of us.GettyGardens

 

19)  I have made more friends here than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  Most of my friends I’ve met through the myriad of personal growth I’ve been through.  Landmark Education (http://www.landmarkworldwide.com/the-landmark-forum) stands out as a huge influence in my transformation.  I am supremely grateful to the work they do in over 20 countries worldwide.  My Abraham-Hicks cruise friends and local meetup meetings with like-minded people sharing uplifting stories of worthiness and the magic and miracles that happen everyday is priceless.  Sharing.

20)  The free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier in the summertime FEEL really good.  To be out in the night-time ocean air listening to music and meeting new people is my kind of night!

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21)   There are farmers markets everyday of the week all year round in my town and surrounding towns.  That is such a gift!IMG_2631

22)  In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve not taken one day for granted.  I love where I live and have lived and I’m so glad I made the bold move out here those 25 years ago.

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23)  Again, I say, “fitting in”  is not an option for me here.  Authenticity does exist and only we can choose it for ourselves.  The alternative is working really hard to look good to all the people around you.  Ugh,  as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide!”

 

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24) Take time to play, it is the secret to perpetual youth!  
25)  Listen to your intuition, your gut feelings, they are always correct!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Frustrating Force

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As the woman in the 3rd car behind me laid on her horn for a good minute, I smiled to myself, I was once that obnoxious driver.photo-10

I had a form of road rage–when drivers didn’t drive correctly, I let them know about it!  Well, not really, I just yelled and screamed inside my car to myself.

The constant insults I hurled at all the other stupid drivers had to stop!

I never held up my fingers or yelled out the window, but inside my car, I could not recognize myself.  I was not a pleasant person.

I remember feeling so bad about what had just come out of my mouth toward another driver that I thought, “what if my sweet, elderly client, Charlotte were witnessing my behavior right now–she would not recognize me!”

This had to stop, I  felt possessed by a frustrating force!

“How can you be so stupid–don’t you know the left lane is for cars to pass not for you to go slow in.”

“You idiot, turning left on a double yellow line (while I laid on the horn for dramatic effect).”

It took me quite some time to get it all under control.  Probably the biggest aid in my rage recovery was taking The Landmark Forum (http://www.landmarkworldwide.com).

The Landmark Forum is a weekend intensive transformational seminar that can unlock some of the patterns and behaviors that hold you back from being the truest,  most joyful being that you can be!

I remember their definition of “being peaceful”–give up the story that there’s something wrong here.

At first glance, you think, “yeah right”…

One exercise was pretty simple–we shared with a partner one of our biggest frustrations.  For me, it was behaving very badly as a driver.  By continuing to tell the story over and over to your partner what it was that frustrated me while driving, after so many times it just sounded so silly.

I would tell these detailed stories about what he did that was stupid and how it affected me. Over and over and over…

It really is just a story.

Give up the story that there’s something wrong here!  It may sound super simple, but that was a big breakthrough for me.

It was all just a story–the story I told myself about all the idiot drivers out there.

The more I gave up the story in my car, while driving, the less I noticed the stupid drivers in my vicinity.  Even if there were stupid drivers, I began to let it go.  It was simply the story I told myself.

We get to choose what story we tell ourselves about ANYTHING!  I wanted to feel joy and ease for my entire day, not feel the fierce frustration that always occurred while driving.IMG_2369

Tonight (years later) as I was driving down a residential street that had cars parked on both sides of the street but there was still enough room for 2 cars to travel, the driver coming from the other direction laid on his horn as if I was taking up too much space.

He was angry.  His face was all snarled up and he was miserable.  This man was elderly and had a severe case of rage.   I just smiled and felt free–free from the stress that he so clearly has carried every time he gets in his car.

That’s something I noticed years ago–how the older people were some of the angriest drivers I’d ever seen.  I keep those images in my mind to remind me of what I don’t want to become!

Imagine if you could let go of that rage, let go of those judgments, let go of the blame and ridicule.  Imagine how you would feel  without all those emotions weighing you down!

Give up the story there’s something wrong here.

Reach for ways to feel better, and I promise you, you will attract more experiences that feel better.

Frustration is a force that is finding its way out of my body.  Little by little, as I focus on what’s beautiful, the frustration falls away.

I actually get into my car and feel ease while driving.  I enjoy my drive wherever it takes me because I’ve got a calm and loving force that lives inside me–a force that I’m in charge of.  I get to choose how I feel and I choose peace!

Trash Talk

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I’m not really sure what to say.I’ve been hiking in these Malibu trails for 23 years. I am sad to say that the last couple of hikes on one of the sweetest trails in Malibu was so full of garbage that I vowed to bring a garbage bag for the next time I hiked it.

Sure enough, I got a load full of trash on this hike.

People come to these trails because they’ve read it as a recommended trail somewhere. The people who come are in search of a getaway from the city and I assume they revere the trails in a similar way that I do–just can’t seem to wrap my head around why they would be so careless with their trash?

Water bottles, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and more.  Is it because they’ve never been taught not to litter?  Or is it that they just don’t care?

Whatever the reason, I have a hard time just walking by.

So, the next time you are out on one of our fabulous trails and you spot some garbage, please set an example and pick it up.  Perhaps others will follow your lead and we will no longer have people who disrespect such a beautiful place.Tara and the coastline

STREET Smarts–Detroit Taught Me Well

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Today,  I am feeling very appreciative of my mom and the freedom she graced upon her kids.  She gave us so much space and exposed us to more than the average person, I’m sure of it now.

When I was a young girl, we would go and visit my Grandma and Grandpa in the Cass Corridor, Downtown Detroit area.   The Cass Corridor is where the riots broke out in the heart of Detroit in 1963.

It was a real raw city, indeed. 

My Grandpa would walk us to the park downtown where we would feed the pigeons.  He was in a very sick phase of his life, and there were many times that he would have to lay down on the side of the street and take a nap.

My sister, Valorie,  and I were about 8 and 10 years old.  We would just sort of linger there while grandpa napped.  We were harassed by all sorts of people.

We learned the subtle art of knowing when to speak and when not to pay any attention.  There is a huge difference. 

If you look someone in the eye that should not be looked in the eye, you learn quickly what you did wrong.  When you ignore someone that you should have spoken to, you learn quickly what you should have done.  Trust me, it’s a big deal.

Most of the people I know are afraid of going to areas that seem unsafe.  Quite frankly, most people just don’t go.  When I was  a teenager and driving, I would drive my friends to downtown Detroit.  There were some amazing ethnic festivals at The Hart Plaza down on the riverfront.   Talk about a place to party and meet people from all over the metropolitan area, this was it.

If my friend’s parents knew they were down there, they would have thrown a fit!

To me, being downtown was not a big deal and it was not dangerous.  My Mom worked downtown all of my young years, my Grandparents lived downtown, and it was part of my vibe.   

If you aren’t exposed to the diversity at a young age, when will you be?

That, I believe, is the problem with most people who are filled with fear about going to certain neighborhoods.  If they’ve never had any experience carrying themselves down a city street, you’d better believe they’re going to show it. 

Body language and posture is everything. 

If you have no confidence, it will show and you will be an easy victim if anyone were interested.

Just the other day, I was in an area in Los Angeles that I would not necessarily  choose to go to.  I had bought a Living Social deal and I wasn’t sure of the area it was in.  Sure enough, as I drove toward the address, things weren’t looking all that fabulous.

It was a run down neighborhood and the people were definitely diverse and,  in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”.

I had a voucher and it expired TODAY.  Since I was juice fasting, I was going to get my full supply for the day and take them to go–all juice.  As I handed the cashier my voucher to pay, he announced that it was dine in only.

Shoot, I had no choice so I decided to sit there and drink a couple hours away.  I needed my computer which was in my car.

I walked to my car, which incidently had my bicycle on top of it, and grabbed my laptop and walked back.

There were people of all sorts out there.  Some in their yard, some on the street, some lingering in the old garage business on the corner.

They were diverse and it did feel like I was on the streets of Detroit from my childhood. 

The beautiful thing, though, was that  they were not at all offended by my presence.  The tough chick walking by was one of those you just don’t engage.  The older woman, who seemed a bit out of sorts and maybe a little intoxicated,  was pleasant and a simple smile worked with her.

All I can say is, I am so appreciative of my upbringing and the example my mom set for me.

I appreciate her for exposing me to all the neighborhoods, not just the suburbs. 

Fear just wasn’t present in my body when I was out there.  All was well.

I guess if you are already an adult and you  weren’t prepared to navigate in such neighborhoods, you probably should stay out of bounds until you learn the art of posture.  Or, come with me and you’ll be fine.

All is well and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood–wherever it is!